Summer’s End

We love the trailer
Life, it’s simple if you love
the one you’ve chosen

Chillin at the Gunnison KOA dog run.
Chillin at the Gunnison KOA dog run.

I’ve written it before and I’ll write it again: I love our trailer-trip adventures.

Two nights. Two nights of unplugging from the requirements of home and the barrage of politics and the lull of routine is all we needed this past weekend to return to it all feeling like we’d just spent a week at a resort.

 

Our resort: a KOA in Gunnison with full hook-ups, lots of green grass, clean facilities,

She only loved me for my carrots.
She only loved me for my carrots.

friendly owners, and surprise visitors. Ginny and Herbie must have known Mike and I were ass-kissers, or perhaps they were curious about our handsome dog. Maybe they smelled the bag of carrots I’d just brought out to munch on. In any case, they were both at least 29-years-old, and Ginny was nearly blind.

Ginny and Herbie, the Gunnison KOA's welcome burros.
Ginny and Herbie, the Gunnison KOA’s welcome burros.

Ranger was not inclined to welcome the unleashed beasts as freely as we were, however, and after an initial sniff (with Mike pulling him away from unpredictable rear-ends), decided they were untrustworthy. He remained quietly aloof for the duration of their visit.

Ranger meets Ginny, but decides he'd rather she moved along to other campers.
Ranger meets Ginny, but decides he’d rather she moved along to other campers.

In the evening, we kayaked/paddleboarded on Blue Mesa Reservoir, and I marveled at how different an experience it was from our peaceful paddle at Twin Lakes last week. This reservoir was enormous, and when clouds filled the sky and the wind picked up, the waves were Old Man And The Sea-worthy. I hooked up to Mike’s kayak for the final push to shore after 90 minutes of hard, enjoyable work, and after a few games of Cribbage and a shot of Dewar’s after the sun set, slept like a cat in a hat.

#22kill Day 7 of my 22 push-ups per day to raise awareness of veteran suicides. Hug a veteran today. Let him/her know you care.
#22kill Day 7 of my 22 push-ups per day to raise awareness of veteran suicides. Hug a veteran today. Let him/her know you care.

While Mike rode his bike at Hartman Rocks the next day, I did my trailer push-ups (to spread awareness of the number of veterans who commit suicide each day, the #22kill campaign) and wished I’d thought to do 22 push-ups against the burros during their visit.

We returned home to an extra layer of snow on the mountains and a brilliant sunset, the perfect Leadville summer evening. Soon our lake will freeze, but for now:

Fiery August sky
Turquoise Lake oblivious
Snow on Mount Massive

(thank you, Mary Howard, for reminding me to haiku my visions!)

Sunset over Leadville mountains and Turquoise Lake.
Sunset over Leadville mountains and Turquoise Lake.

Yes, you all know by now that I love haiku. I think my opening haiku for this post is the best I’ve written. See how many ways you can read/interpret it! Haikus Can Amuse! (get your copy today!)

If you like my writing, you might enjoy my books! Check them out here, and thank you!

Zen Diagrams

Winter comes early to the high mountains of Colorado—it’s already snowing in the 14ers behind our house—so when Mike said, “Let’s go to the lake today,” I donned my water shoes, threw my paddle board in the truck, and off we went. We were both exhausted from a week of racing events (Mike earned the coveted 1,100-mile LT100 mountain bike race jacket), but the day was “seasonably” warm for an August day in most places. We could easily have taken a nap, but didn’t want to miss the warmest day of the year so far.

Did I mention we were exhausted? The lake must have known. Never has it been so serene, so ripple-free-reflective, and we were all alone on it.

We paddled side-by-side for a while, Mike in his kayak, me on my board. I paddled softly, not wanting to disturb the only other creature in sight—a preening Double-crested Cormorant, who stopped to follow our languid glide across his waterfront. The lake was crystal clear to the bottom. I thought I might find lost treasures.

When the glistening bird returned to his task, we advanced on cloud formations so crisp atop the water that the vision disoriented me. “We’re chasing water clouds,” I told Mike. “Another book title.” I really need to start keeping track of all my book title ideas. He smiled and paddled silently.

As Mike’s kayak moved beyond me, I watched the cloud reflections waver until they looked like something from a Dali painting for a moment before the wake from his boat subsided and they were perfect again, more beautiful even than the actual clouds above. I approached their reflections as slowly as I was able. I wanted to stand on a cloud, but they remained always just in front of me.

Easing my paddle from the water behind me, I made a gentle arc before dipping it back in for the next stroke. I watched as the droplets from my paddle made strings of concentric circles that expanded in circumference until they overlapped one another, becoming a chain of wavy Venn diagrams before disappearing into the mirror. I did this over and over again, never tiring of the magical patterns. Water Slinkies trailed my board and nudged me into a trance. Venn diagrams became Zen diagrams.

I sat on my board and floated on the clouds until Mike returned.

“Want me to pull you back?” he offered after we had floated together for a while.

“Sure. Let’s go back and take that nap.” I clipped the front of my board to his kayak and lay on my belly, my ear to the board, and listened to the easy, rhythmic “splash, splash, splash, splash” of his paddle as we returned to where the watchful bird waited. I skimmed my fingertips along the surface of the lake as he pulled me, reveling in the juxtaposition of its satin-soft coolness with the warmth of the sun on my cheek and arms and calves. The clouds had drifted away.

And so had I.Waterwight

p.s., I took no photos that day, but was inspired by crazy, dreamy, cloudy, rhythmic ideas I’ll use in Waterwight: Book II.

If you like my writing, you might enjoy my books! Check them out here, and thank you!

You’re a Peach!

That crate of peaches
slurped, sliced, peeled, baked in cobbler
Empty box, full tum!

So many slurpy peaches!
              SO many slurpy peaches!

What do you do after buying a crate of peaches from a man setting up on a street corner?

  1. Wonder what you’re going to do with SO many peaches when you get home.
  2. Pull off the cover and savor the sweet aroma of SO many peaches.
  3. Consume 1 or 2 or 3 right away and wonder why you still have SO many peaches.
  4. Be a little afraid of the repercussions of eating 1 or 2 or 3 peaches right away.
  5. Give them to your friends and your mail deliverer and wonder why you still have SO many peaches.
  6. Ask your son’s girlfriend if she’d like to make peach cobbler (because you don’t bake) and marvel at the fact that you still have SO many peaches left.
  7. Eat the entire peach cobbler (well, share a corner with someone you love) and look at what’s left of SO many peaches.
  8. Write a haiku about SO many slurpy peaches.
  9. Decide it’s time to do something with SO many peaches still remaining in the crate. Peel, slice, freeze . . .
  10. Smile at the thought that when you’re tum-tum is ready again, there will be SO many peaches waiting for you in the freezer!
What was left of the peach cobbler a little while ago. Sorry, honey, it's gone now.
What was left of the peach cobbler (thank you, Lydia!) a little while ago. Sorry, honey, it’s gone now.

Peaches. It’s what’s for dinner.

big 'ol bite of peach cobbler.
            Big ‘ol bite of peach cobbler.
Peaches, peaches, more peaches for the freezer!
Peaches, peaches, more peaches for the freezer!

Pennies from Heaven

Well, probably not.

Regardless of the origin, when my buddy John and I decided to return from our morning walk along a different route from the one we normally follow, we discovered a treasure.

John actually discovered it, stopping short and backtracking a few steps while my focus remained internal. Ideas for the 3-Day Novel contest I’ve entered were flowed freely this morning, plot ideas bursting forth with each new corner we turned.

“Ooo! Pennies for my thoughts!” I squatted to collect the scattered copper bits–too many to count–and John added a bunch to my handful. “Let’s leave some as a surprise for some kids later on!”

A fistful of pennies, one for every thought!
A fistful of pennies, one for every thought!

With no pockets in today’s garb, I held the hefty coins in my sweaty palm until I made it home. I wondered who might find the rest, and if they’d even bother to pick them up. Pennies, 38 pennies. What do you do with 38 pennies? What does anyone do with pennies anymore besides dump them on the ground?

I’ll toss them in our change container and maybe someday take the lot to one of those coin machines for paper cash. Better yet, I’ll save the 10% fee by spending an afternoon rolling the coins myself while reminiscing about my waitress days, driven by the anticipation of discovering the total amount I made in tips during my shift.

Today’s windfall seemed like a sign from heaven that I’m on the right track with the novel I’ll write in 72 hours this Labor Day weekend. Glad my buddy was paying attention to our path while my head was in the clouds.